Since its launch in 2005, YouTube has come a long way and transformed from a simple video-sharing site into the largest video hosting service in the world with more than two billion active users. YouTube changed the game, set trends and gave bloggers an opportunity not just to create entertaining content but to make substantial profit from it.
However, the title of the most influential video platform eventually passed from YouTube to TikTok. Oversaturation of all kinds of content inevitably led to the reduction of our attention span, which naturally increased the popularity of short form content. So much so that social media services had no choice but to adapt. Even a giant like YouTube incorporated TikTok-style short vertical videos on its platform – YouTube Shorts.
As a musician, you may already use TikTok and Instagram Reels to grow your fanbase. Do you also need to dabble into YouTube Shorts? What makes them different from short videos on other platforms? Are they an effective tool for promoting your music? Find answers to these and other questions about YouTube Shorts below.
What Are YouTube Shorts?
Shorts are YouTube’s short-form, vertical video format. Shorts are created on a smartphone directly in the mobile YouTube application.
They can be basically anything – comedy skits, dances, makeup tutorials, before-and-after transformations, sketches, lip-syncs, educational videos – whatever your heart desires. Similar to the short-form video content on other platforms, YouTube Shorts are from 15 to 60 seconds long.
YouTube provides various tools for creating short videos, such as a multi-segment camera for stringing several video clips together, speed controls, timer and countdown for effortless hands-free recording, as well as the possibility to add original sounds and music from the YouTube library.
How Do YouTube Shorts Differ From Other Short Videos?
With so many bite-sized vertical videos on different platforms, you may ask yourself “what is the difference between TikTok videos, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts?”
There are also Instagram Stories and YouTube Stories which look quite similar to Reels and Shorts. So unless you’re terminally online and actively engaging with all of the variations of the short-form video content, it may be quite confusing and hard to distinguish one from another.
Unlike Instagram and YouTube Stories, which expire after a day or a few (1 day on Instagram, 7 days on YouTube), Shorts stay on the creator’s channel for an unlimited amount of time, meaning they will continue gaining engagement for many days to come after they were initially posted.
TikTok features only short videos, whereas Instagram and YouTube got a lot more types of content other than Reels and Shorts, like photo posts, text posts, long videos, etc. Users may get bored watching only short videos on TikTok and there’s nothing to switch to in the app, but on Instagram and YouTube you are always one click away from other media.
Though it seems like TikTok has the largest number of viewers, both YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels actually surpass TikTok by a whopping billion of users! As of 2022, TikTok has one billion users while YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels have over two billion users. What’s more, TikTok has over 1 billion views a day, whereas YouTube Shorts get over 30 billion daily views (and Instagram doesn’t report daily view numbers).
In conclusion, YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels and TikTok videos are pretty similar in how they are created and displayed but the amount of views and viewers differ drastically.
Why Should Musicians Care About YouTube Shorts?
In short (no pun intended), it’s because YouTube Shorts are a great way to promote music and grow a wider audience!
Anyone who plays a video with your song on it can easily see the song and artist name, and use the song in their own YouTube Shorts, thus organically promoting your music further. What’s more, every time a creator uses your song in their YouTube Short video, you receive revenue from the placement.
Shorts viewers can also easily open and listen to the full song on YouTube, bringing your music more streams. As you may know, YouTube offers a higher pay-per-stream rate than Spotify and provides a lot more streaming possibilities than any other streaming service.
It’s smart to use YouTube, and YouTube Shorts in particular, in your music marketing strategy!
How to Upload Your Music to YouTube Shorts
Currently there are two ways to add sounds to YouTube Shorts, the first is by sampling already existing videos and the second is by selecting songs from YouTube Music library.
The latter is relevant to musicians. In order to make your music available in the library, you need to distribute it on YouTube Music. Follow the steps below.
- Open your browser.
- Head to YouTube Music.
- Click your profile photo at the upper right corner.
- Click Upload music in the drop-down menu.
- Choose one or several tracks in the opened window, then click Open.
All that’s left to do is wait until your music in processed.
After the upload is completed, you can see your songs by heading to Library > Songs and opening the dropdown menu, and changing the list to Uploads.
How to Add Your Song to YouTube Shorts
- Open the mobile YouTube app.
- Tap the plus tab at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap the Create a Short option.
- Tap '15' at the top right corner to choose how long you want your Short to be (up to 60 seconds).
- (Optional) Tap Speed to slow down or speed up recording.
- (Optional) Tap Timer to set the countdown and record hands-free, and select when to start automatically recording.
- Tap Add Sound at the top of the screen. Search for your song, then tap ‘→’ next to it.
- Tap and hold the recording button.
- Add a title (up to 100 characters).
- Click Upload to finish.
How to Promote Your Music on YouTube Shorts
Adding the catchiest parts of your songs to YouTube Shorts is a crucial, yet not the only step to promoting your music. Engaging visual is what’s going to push you to more viewers and potential fans.
What you display doesn’t necessarily need to be connected to your music career and music as a general topic. People love fun, lighthearted content. Make memes, crack jokes, dance, make tutorials, lip-sync to your music while doing something interesting or unexpected. Jump on trends and start your own.
Since YouTube Shorts automatically playback until swiped up, make sure your videos look good and make sense when replayed – no abrupt endings and unfinished thoughts. The better the replay value, the more views and streams you get.
Basically, every advice you found on promoting your music and your brand in general on TikTok and Instagram Reels works for YouTube Shorts. Be creative, showcase your talents, keep it simple and fun!